Anyone who has done business with BlueChannel knows we tend to under-promise, over-deliver, and keep our promises. And I respect and try to do business with businesses and people that do the same.

For the last decade, we’ve recommended our clients use the underdog mail service iContact (formerly IntelliContact). We liked their interface, we liked their pricing, and we liked that they were not the big player, Constant Contact. We signed up for their affiliate program, recommended their service to clients, and built marketing campaigns on on their platform.

Out of the blue, I received this brief letter dated December 10, 2012:

Dear Paul DeCrette,

iContact, LLC has recently conducted an extensive review of iContact’s Affiliate and Partner programs and has concluded that the current program which you are enrolled in has not satisfied its stated objective of having iContact Affiliates and Partners refer a steady stream of customers to iContact and promote iContact’s services. Therefore, iContact is terminating such Affiliate and Partner Programs as of December 31, 2012.

We invite you to join iContact’s new marketing programs described at www.icontact.com/partners by contacting us at Partners@icontact.com. We value the relationship that we have with you and hope that you may choose to work with us in the future.

On December 17, the day I received the letter, I made contact with Partners@icontact.com as they requested:

Hi!

I received a notice from Vocus about the end to the iContact referral program. Will you continue to pay referrals on accounts already referred to you, just stopping payments on new referrals? Or are you planning to stop the previously-referred, agreed-upon current referrals being paid?

Thanks for the clarification,
– Paul

They never responded. In Q1 2013, I received my last commission check. We still actively use the service because we have clients on the platform. But are we still referring our clients to this business? No way.

Business advice: keep your promises. Respond to your emails. And give folks more than a few days’ notice when you are ending a previously agreed-upon commission structure that you’ve been honoring for a decade. I understand situations change and businesses need to adapt. But was this the best way to handle a long-term partner? Absolutely not. Unacceptable. And now rather than advocating for your service, I am intentionally speaking out against it.

Good luck iContact! With great services out there like Constant Contact and MailChimp, you are going to need it!